Who is God ?

Considerations of   Dipl.Math. Ulrich Meyer , Feb. 2001                                   Homepage Ulrich Meyer in german

Basis for these considerations is the book
'Wir sind nicht nur von dieser Welt' (= 'We are not only from this world')
(Title of the english translation by Peter Heinegg : 'The origins of life' )
by  Prof.Hoimar v. Ditfurth.

to Hoimar von Ditfurth page

This is a translation from German language and therefore it may be not perfect.

Contents :
1. The consciousness of humans
2. The inexplicable
3. The extension of the mental horizon
4. Where now is God?
5. Praying
6. Result
7.  To the continuation:  Who is God? Part 2 
8.  To the continuation:  Who is God? Part 3 - The answer.
9. Notes (added in Oktober 2001)

1. The consciousness of humans

  In the course of the evolution from first primitive ways of life today's humans have developed with its intelligence. Newly born humans must begin to comprehend its surroundings in the first months of his life. In the real sense of the word 'comprehend', because by the touching of its surroundings its senses learn. They learn warmly and coldly, round and angularly or softly and hard. With its five senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting, he learns impressions, which are coordinated with the touchings and then are stored in the brain. Thus results an image of the surroundings which is stamped by the senses in the brain.

  In the course of the development of humans he is confronted again and again with new impressions, which are not to be explained for him. If these impressions are not to be brought with the old picture in his brain in connection, he researches. The child asks his parents or other persons. The conception of the world of humans is extended in such a way. Later in the school the experiences of older humans are transferred directly to the younger ones. Thus humans receive an experience thrust. Thus everyone does not need to gain these experiences individually, as far as he would be able at all in addition. Humans experience so more and more over itself and the world, in which he lives. Individual persons will then become researchers and scientists, in order to find still further explanations for the things in the world.

2. The inexplicable

   We put ourselves now into the position of our human ancestors, who discovered the fire and which invented wheel. They experienced things in the surroundings, which they could not explain. Things, which made them afraid, e.g. flash and thunder. For the explanation of these inexplicable phenomena something had to be found. Thus they invented the Gods. Everything which was not explainable, was made by the Gods.

  We are with our considerations in the human family tree after the transition of the animal to humans. By animals according to my opinion no sign of God faith and religious thinking is to be found. Which means the word 'faith', can be available only with a certain intelligence. The Gods solvs the problem of the unexplainable for our ancestors. This polytheism had different facets, e.g. the 'falling in love' was explained with an arrow of the God Amor.

  With the time humans developed systems of government, e.g. kingdoms. With the Egyptians in 14. Century before Christ king Echnaton (Amenophis IV.) and later his son Tut-Ench-Amun achieved a God-similar status. By this quasi removing from the normal population and approximating to the Gods, these kings had however many opponents. They tried to change therefore the polytheism at that time (much Gods) into a monotheism (one God). They failed however. After the death of Tut-Ench-Amun the old Gods were again adored. With the Christianity again a monotheistic religion was created. Then the monotheism was taken over later also by the Islam.

While the gods of the polytheism were found in many areas of nature (e.g. forest and water God), in the monotheism the God is set into the sky. The sky was in former times unattainable for humans. How it looked there, one did not know and it was open thereby for all imaginations.

3. The extension of the mental horizon

  Humans developed themselves further. The telescope was invented. With it one could see further into the sky. If people regarded in former times the earth as a disk and center (geocentric) of the universe, they detected the spherical shape of the earth in the late Middle Ages as truely. Galileo Galilei (1564 -1642) founded modern physics and discovered that the earth turned around the sun (heliocentrical worldview). Thus he came in conflict however with the institution which has developt from the religion, the church. The sky was reserved only for God and humans have nothing to do there.

  But the scientific knowledge could not be stopped and developed themselves further. People saw about our solar system and explored into the depths of the universe. While our macroscopic horizon of the earth extended about our solar system in the universe, the microscopic horizon were extended first with optical, later with electronic microscope and up to atoms and elementary particles in the other direction.

  With the extension of the mental horizon one managed usually with the five senses, to detect and solve the discovered problems. The study of the universe led then to phenomena, which were not to be explaind with the previous knowledge. Only Albert Einstein supplied a solution with his relativity theory . The ingenious at Einstein's considerations was that he found explanations for phenomena, which contradict completly the imaginations at that time.

The discovery of the chemical ring-structure of the benzene molecule by Kékulé e.g. was also large performance and this led chemistry into a new dimension. But a ring was not new and this discovery can be understood with our senses well.

Einstein's relativity theory goes far out of the understanding of our senses. It concerns itself among other things with speed of light and curvature of the space, with which we have never to do in our everyday life on the earth.

4. Where now is God ?

  The scientific understanding for the universe developed thanks Einstein very far. We must extend our knowledge however out of our senses by scientific logical explanations. Therefore we should stop the picture of God that he is an old man with beard in the sky. We should leave the personification of God. This contradicts the Bible in which God created the humans after his image. But in the Bible are still more contradictions to the today's scientific level of knowledge.
With the size of the universe we assumes outside of the earth still further life and ways of life exists. Because the appearance of humans comes from the conditions on earth, like terrestrial gravity, atmosphere and chemical elements, it is to be assumed that further life in the universe also has another appearance. It is therefore a very egoistically meaning that even humans would be an image of God. With this universe God must be also much more complicated. He is far out of our human understanding. Therefore a complete explanation of God will be impossible for us. Our question "Who is God ?" finally will be never answered, as a complete explanation of the universe by the scientific progress also can never be reached. But we can approximate a solution.

We should ask ourselves therefore first "Where is God ?".
  Also that couldn't be answered completely. We can regard however its effects. Since God is omnipresent, he should be present 'everywhere'.
                       What exists 'everywhere' ?   -    stuff (this is  masses).
And masses is equal energy by Einstein's relativity theory and is everywhere in the universe distributed (Note  [1]). If we come, nevertheless, back to the picture of God as an old man, we could regard the energy accordingly as a hand or a arm of him. Energy is responsible for all processes. Copying of the genetic code during a cell division is not possible without energy. Energy radiation is also one of the main causes that during this copying occasionally errors occurred, which led in the course of the time for the various genetic selection and thus to the evolution. In attempts it could be also shown that in the 'origin-soup', an aqueous solution with molecules from carbon, nitrogen and sulfur, by energy rays e.g. flashes amino acids can appear. The 'origin-soup' was at the beginning of the earth a main part of the surface. These amino acids are the basic modules of the genetic code, thus the basis of the life, as we know it. After these considerations God is to be found everywhere in nature and in the whole universe. It is responsible for all processes, which we describe with the laws of nature. This thinking way is not new, because there is already for long time the Greek term 'pantheism' .
It is, as said, no complete explanation for God, but today with the present knowledge status this description for God appears better to me as the old man in the sky.

5. Praying

  We should now look to the correspondence between God and humans, the praying. This is not a dialogue but a monologue, thus an extremely one-sided process.
  How one introduces himself, each humans can pray at any time of any place to God. God has so a substantially better monitoring, than it is executed by the 'Stasi' in the GDR. Nevertheless, it would be once necessary for checking whether thereby God does not offend against national laws.
  You forgive me the last sarcastic words. They reflect only the contradiction, which someone have, who was infused with these old conventional religious conceptions in his youth and who learns to know this technical and scientific boom of the last years in the course of his life. These are virtually two worlds, which do not fit together.

By the size of the universe I cannot imagine an individual care when praying to God for all livings. We must regard mankind as a collective, which is responsible for its future also as a collective. Thus these questions would be omitted to the church, why some 'good' humans have a bad fate, while some 'bad' humans, e.g. some dictators, have a life in abundance. These contradictions were never clearly answered by the religion (Note  [2]).

We come again back to praying. This is by my opinion a type of self-psychology. If a person believes himself more surely and strengthened after a prayer, then this comes from a risen self-confidence. Self-confident persons are psychologally more stable than frightened persons. In India and other asiatic religions there is the 'medititation' instead of 'praying'. This is a much better process for the stabilization of the psyche.

  Many religious people will not be able to agree to these last views. They should remain by their opinion, because if one does not believe firmly in it, a prayer also cannot help.

6. Result

  My remarks do not have a requirement on absolute correctness. They can also be false. They should be regarded more than a suggestion for discussion. Already Prof.Hoimar v. Ditfurth showed in his books that the church always limped afterwards in its thinking of the science. New scientific knowledge were first always rejected and later it was taken over as correct probably against-willingly.
  The church should consider itself, if its traditional thinking, which is based on a 2000 years old book, is still corresponding to today's status. That do not mean that all old is false. But many opinions are not longer up-to-date. With today's technical development in particular also the biotechnological development, which pushes now to a boundary, that particularly was reserved only for God, one should think about a re-orientation in the religious thinking. But one should assume however we will never find a complete explanation for God and the universe.

7. Here you come to the continuation - the Part 2 of 'Who is God?'

8. Here you come to the continuation - the Part 3 of 'Who is god?' with the answer!

9. Notes :

[1] : Stephen Hawking , professor for physics and mathematics of the university of Cambridge, has a similar opinion. By the presentation of his book "The universe in a nutshell" in Munich in October 2001, he said "God is in the laws of nature". This is an equvilent statement, because the laws of nature describe the behavior of masses.   [back]

[2] : Here an actual example from TV-reports : After the two aeroplanes hit the world trade center, there was a priest infront of it praying to God for help. No one could change his mind to go to an safe place. Then the towers crashed and the priest was hit. Later he died in the arms of a helper.   [back]

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